It’s been 2 1/2 weeks since baby Ameena joined our family and we became a home  of 5 (although technically a family of  6 with Carla, our grown foster daughter who is now on her own).

Eli and Lucy both adore their little sister and haven’t displayed a shred of jealously, or meanness , or anger……towards her.

Towards each other, and mom and dad is another story.

You can tell that we’re all a little tired and on edge around here.  Our parenting has been reduced to a bunch of, “Stop that” “What are you doing?” “Please don’t” “One, two…..” If you yell one more time.” “Please be nice to…..”   You get the point.

Eli has taken to either hurting his sister (Lucy) or getting  hurt himself.  He is honestly the most dramatic boy I’ve met.  He tried to milk a blister on his heel for dinner on the sofa.  Seriously.  Tonight he got his foot caught in a moving bike tire.  (Ouch)  He limped, but then forgot the act when he was going full speed on his big wheel.   He’s just not his usual self.  I’m hoping it’s a baby phase and not a “I’m 5 and this is how I act” phase.  Please Lord, please.

Lucy  is her usual self, just amped up about 10 levels.  I really didn’t think her voice could go any louder.  It does.  She can also out talk and out question Regis Philbin I think.  The girl has staying power.  My friend Erika reminded me tonight of the time in the car when Lucy was silent for over an hour…her head was covered with her blankie like a parrot at night.  I really need to try that again.  Mostly,the baby brings out curiosity in Lucy…which I try to encourage and indulge.  It’s just that sometimes, especially at 6am, I don’t want to answer questions like if “Do dad’s little bras {nipples} have juice like yours for the baby?”  Where to go that early in the morning with all of those slight misconceptions?  Really???

So, needless to say, tonight in my grumpiness I was fussing about the night guard who came to our door with a question, and then left the door wide open when he left……allowing all of creations’ bugs to swarm into our house.  Curse that malaria harbored by those darn mosquitos!

And then I noticed that the sounds of crickets and that beeping bug were really kind of loud.

And the windows had all been left open.

Ooops.  Guess I can’t blame that on anyone but myself, and I’m just not quite myself these days.  Otherwise, those windows would have been closed at 6pm sharp and those bugs would have been finding their fun in someone else’s house with open windows.

We’ll get back to normal.   Some day.  When having THREE  instead of TWO kids that all melt down at the same time seems normal, and I’m able to use all of those wonderful, loving parenting techniques I know I have stuffed deep down in that part of my brain that is currently buried below sleep deprivation.

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Me and Erika at the tea farm in Limuru when she visited in January

Africa is a long way away from the States, and if you’ve looked at plane fare costs, you know it’s no small feat to undertake a trip here.

That’s why we’ve been SOOO incredibly thankful for those of you who have made the sacrifice financially and have emotionally and physically undertaken the trek to visit us and Karibu Centre here in Thika, Kenya.

Sooo, when a friend out of the blue mentions that they think they’re gonna be able to visit a 2nd time, and their first visit wasn’t even 6 months ago, you  think things like:

Erika Marshall Lee, “if you get any more awesome,” and then fill in the blank.

Course she has the advantage of working for the airline industry and having an AWESOME husband who over the years has become more accustomed to his wife’s love of travel.  I’m thinking of this visit by Erika as a “fill in” love visit for all of the friends and family who wish they could visit us and the new baby, but can’t for a variety of reasons and circumstances.  We are surrounded by an incredible group of family and friends who have given us incredible support over our last year here in Kenya.  Yes, it has been a year already!  We have received an overwhelming amount of emotional, financial, and physical support from all of you & it has carried us through the difficulty of being away from what is familiar and comfortable.

Erika is arriving from Portland in less than a week and we’re gonna have a sweet time!  I’ll be thinking about all of you as we’re having some good girl time together and my kids are getting more on the attention scale than they have in the last few weeks.

Love to you all!

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It’s been a while since an update &  I know some of you were going to start leaving comments that this blog was on it’s way to blahg.  

Baby Ameena is now 2 weeks and 2 days new.  She  is a sweet baby who generally only fusses when she is hungry (quite often) and for a good 3 hours from about 9-12pm every night (colick?  But with a 3rd kid, we’re pretty easy-going about it!).   Otherwise she smiles  and is very alert–checking out all of the madness around her. 

Plenty of madness to go around here at the Centre!   In the few days after we brought Ameena home, the volunteer team from Oregon finished up with some large construction projects, we continued to register increasing numbers of kids at the Centre for our new term, Ian and Salvation Army staff work hard to plan the long awaited Grand Opening of Karibu Centre, our friends Joyce and baby A were in a matatu accident (but are thankfully ok) and we opened the Abadoned Infant Care portion of the Centre–now complete with 3 baby boys who were all abandoned at the local district hospital.  It’s been a busy  week. 

With all of that said, here are a few pics: 

A couple of days old


We're paci lovers in this house


Good thing some of you sent me those tiny newborn clothes! They fit this little peanut just right!


All Ameena wants is a little food....which Lucy is oblivious to


Everyone's gotta help


Baby's 1st movie night. A dad special!


Ok, so she can't see the t.v. for movie night, but I think she's having a nice time hanging out with dad

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A teaser:

Ok, you can say it’s mean, but at  least I am getting something on here!

To say that my body is not my own these last 2 days is an understatement.  I’m pretty sure most of you know what I’m talking about.  Donna Gray, you would simply DIE if you saw how tight and almost small those particular articles of clothing are that you kindly sent me. 

But here is what I must say all joking aside.

When Ameena was born, it was a bit traumatic, and fast, and initially, I was in too much shock to hold her or look at her much.  I have never had that experience with either Lucy or Eli.

Later that day though, when we were back in our room and things had settled, respectively, I was overcome with the most amazing sense of awe, and gratitude and humility for all that God has brought me and our family through in the past year.  To say that it has been an easy journey is … well … I wish I could say that.  To say that this baby hasn’t been long hoped for and prayed over is putting it mildly.    I have shared with so many others of you who have  grieved the inability to have a child, or the loss of a child(ren) and know that Ameena is a wonderful gift, not only because she is the child we desired, but also because she will be a reminder of this part of our life when we took a leap of faith and left the familiar to come to Kenya and experience all that we have.

And so, knowing all of that, it makes sense that on the day before this little one was born her mom and dad suddenly changed her name from Eden Olivia to Ameena Olivia.  A nod to her Kenyan start, and to the Swahili meaning of truth and trustworthiness.

Here is a picture of this sweet little one who cries like a cat:

1 day old

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It’s been a long  time since I’ve talked about this family.

Mostly because there hasn’t been anything to say, until now.

Last September, I wrote about the boy who stole my heart:  Since September, and the failed attempt to get acceptance for Halake into the special school in Kasarani, we had another failed attempt at a school not far from Thika.  It has been discouraging for me, and I can’t even imagine what the family feels in all of this.

Anyhow, in the last week of April, out of the blue, the older sister who has been advocating so well for this young man showed up at my house with Halake, unannounced.  That happens a bit here, but not that often, and not with this family.

It turns out that they had found a school that looked promising enough to possibly accept Halake.  It was up in Northern Kenyan, in Isiolo, the family’s home area.  They were confident that Halake would receive better treatment, and hopefully acceptance by his own people.  I figured it was worth a try. 

We figured out matatu/bus fare for the mom, sister and Halake to travel north (about a 6-8 hour drive) WITHOUT me, as I was very pregnant and not wanting to make that long hot trip and sent them on their way.  That was on a Thursday.

And then we waited, and waited, and waited.

I was certain that again Halake had been rejected because of his toileting difficulties.

But then, about a week later, as I was driving into Nairobi for a Doctor’s appointment, the father called me and let me know that Halake had been accepted.

I wanted to cry with joy over the thought of this young man finally getting a chance to learn basic communication and life skills.  No longer being relegated to sitting outside  rain or shine watching the world go by.  His sister actually did cry.  Bless that girl’s heart.  Only a senior in high school yet she has been caring for him all these years.

I thought I had it all figured out.  I had my sponsor from last fall who could cover the school fees, check.

But then there were all of these other miscellaneous needs I hadn’t quite counted on.  Mattresses, sheets, towels, school supplies, cleaning supplies, bathing supplies, other hygiene items.

It was a lot.  And  right when I might let myself get overwhelmed a wonderful Portland Care Group friend put $100 in our bank account….which the holy spirit had been nudging her for months to do she said…..just at the right time.  And she told me to use it for someone that needed help.  Can I say how amazed and thankful I was that this friend listened to the holy spirit as she did?  What a blessing for her, me and Halake.   These items were so far outside of what this family would have been able to round up for Halake and yet in just perfect timing, someone from Portland, Oregon made it happen, without even knowing why or how!

Thank you KK!

So, I went and delivered all of the items hoping to snap a picture of Halake, but it seems like the school kept him up there after the interview/acceptance so he wouldn’t have to make the 8 hour trip 2 more times.

Here however are his family members as they received his school supplies:

In order from left: Halake's sister, father, stepmother


What an exciting step forward for Halake and his family.  I can’t wait to hear of the steps he has made in basic  skills, communication etc. when he comes home for break in August….we’ll have to get his sister set up with a yahoo account so she can go to a cyber cafe and email!

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